A statue of a Boy Scout stands in front of the National Scouting Museum in… (LM Otero / Associated Press )
Should the state of California revoke the Boy Scouts of America's tax-exempt status?
A state Senate committee recommended Wednesday that such status be revoked from nonprofit groups -- including the Boy Scouts of America -- that do not allow gays and transsexuals to become members.
The Senate Governance and Finance Committee voted 5 to 2 along party lines, with Republicans in opposition, to approve the measure by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).
"The Boy Scouts provide a critical service for our youth," Lara told the committee. "But all we’re saying is that everybody should have the opportunity to participate in such a great organization."
The bill next goes to the Appropriations Committee. Passage requires a two-thirds vote on the Senate floor.
Lara said that by providing exemptions to state income and sales taxes, Californians are financially supporting nonprofit organizations.
"Are we in California in the business of paying for discrimination?" Lara asked his colleagues. "I don’t think we are."
Passage of the bill would be a financial blow to local scouting groups that raise money through events such as Christmas tree sales, according to Rick Cronk, a past president of the Boy Scouts of America who serves on the executive committee of the organization.
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